Technology and democracy are at a crossroads. Technology can potentially empower people and make our democracies more responsive. Or technology can be used to manipulate and divide us.
Welcome to Impossible Tradeoffs. I’m Katie Harbath.
In this weekly podcast, we’ll talk about and analyze the most fascinating headlines. We’ll make predictions about where things are going. And we’ll talk to experts about the challenges we face and how we might look for solutions.
I’m a 20-year veteran in the technology and democracy space. I moved to DC from Wisconsin in 2003 to work on political campaigns.
In 2011, I went to Facebook, where over the course of ten years, I built teams worldwide that work with politicians and governments on using the platform to engage with constituents. I also coordinated the company's work on elections. In 2021, I created Anchor Change—a consultancy and Substack newsletter focused on the intersection of technology and democracy.
I’ve seen a lot. I’ve been in the rooms making tough decisions where you have to weigh some difficult choices. I call them impossible tradeoffs.
Our first episode jumps right in with the tsunami of elections happening in 2024. This is the first time that, in the same year as a U.S. presidential election, we’ll have elections in India, Indonesia, Ukraine, Taiwan, Mexico, the United Kingdom and the European Parliament. In total, we are tracking 65 elections across 54 countries. That is not only a huge geopolitical moment for the world but a lot of fronts to protect the integrity of elections.
In future episodes, we’ll interview experts on content moderation, how companies balance freedom of speech, and the need to protect people from harmful content. We’ll talk about the role of AI and the shifts in online political advertising. We’ll do deep dives into some countries going to elections and explore how these issues manifest themselves in those places.
A lot is going on, and I can only guarantee change.
I hope this podcast will help you make sense of these developing events, be prepared for what will happen next, and understand how these issues impact you and others around the globe.
Be sure to follow this show on your favorite podcast platform so you don’t miss a single episode. I look forward to discussing impossible tradeoffs with you.